Supported by LA-based beatmaker and Brainfeeder labelmate Daedelus, the experimental English producer Lapalux has been touring a handful of U.S. cities. Here are impressions of their show at the New Parish in Oakland on Wednesday, April 25.
“I’m going to Lapalux at the New Parish.”
“Hahaha do you mean....wormhole?!”
That was my hint it wouldn’t be an ordinary show. Maggie had been to many a Wormhole Wednesday, one of her favorite parties in the east bay. In fact, she was feeling “wormholy” this week.
We met up at the local diner to eat breakfast for dinner along with a beer, a couple cups of coffee, and a tall chocolate shake. Too many beverages, and then off to the venue.
Party in motion. Two rooms of music, live painting in every corner, everywhere pupils getting bigger. A guy emerged from the restroom wearing a CamelBak, and I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s like that.”
On the staircase, psychedelic party people greeted me and slunk past. I casually ordered a whiskey ginger at the bar, but when I pulled out all my cash—barely enough for the drink—a security guard snapped to attention. Apparently, some shady character had been eyeing my (mostly cashless) wallet.
“Hey you let a guy in through the back door?” he asked over his walkie talkie. “This guy ain’t got no money he’s just creeping on people.”
Oh, it’s like that.
Unfazed, I descended with my drink and looped through the sideroom, where a DJ played the theme song to Seinfeld without cracking a smile. Not even a pinch of a smirk. And then transitioned back to the deep beats.
In the main room, Daedelus took the stage, dapper as always. The vintage professional.
It would be my fourth time seeing him perform (the last time just last year when he opened for Squarepusher's Shobaleader One) but every time he’s different. I finally understand: he’s a chameleon. He’s certainly not “bass music,” so what's he doing at Wormhole? Maybe that’s what happens. Maybe alien musicians fly through the dimensions and plop down on the Wormhole stage churning out their tunes in a vain attempt to match the bigness of the residents. Daedelus slipped into the role in his own mythologically twisted way, seamlessly transitioning from sparkling interludes of noise to massive peaks of beats and back again. Was that a Destiny’s Child sample? That’s some classic French house. Is this a reprieve? This is not bass music but goddamn it’s heavy.
Upstairs, we got a better view of the stage, decked with shattered picture frames suggesting a detonated divine virgin and scattered, gilded magic dust. The neon edges vibrated at 140 BPM. And then Daedelus delivered the hit train:
“Electric word, life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time.”
“Make it rain gurl make it rain.”
“This. Is going. To make you freak.”
Amidst this madness, a stranger stepped up to the railing. She leaned back and swung her hips, and in no time at all we were bouncing to the beat together. Her name was Perla, Spanish for “pearl.”
Daedelus bowed and Lapalux took the stage.
And just like Daedelus, it was immediately obvious that Lapalux was alien to this party. But what else would you encounter in a wormhole?
He swung from his native wonky vapor to four-on-the-floor bass music and back again, feeding just enough beats to the hungry crowd. All night the projections had been ecstatically kaleidoscopic visions of an acid trip, suggesting through vertical symmetry any number of rainbow brains, angels, and demons. But that all changed with Lapalux. The projections behind him suggested a microscopic view of a robot caterpillar or leaves, flourishing and decaying in fast forward. Colors extinguished into the dazzlingly gray-scale graveyard of a black-and-white television set.
And all the while, Lapalux perfectly poised like a statue behind the altar of sound.
We danced and danced and danced, the crowd a confused, “wormholy” mess of love and laughter. But only when Lapalux let us. He liberally took detours into downtempo alleys, and just as easily brought back house beats. We danced and danced and danced.
Once Lapalux left the stage, another DJ returned the Wormhole to its regularly scheduled program of fat, juicy bass music, and the crowd fucking loved it. You could feel the drugged, drunken relief as the alien headliners surfed away on their cosmic saucers.